Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Meet Alex

He founded the South Tyneside Deaf Club in northern England, helps translate TV programs into BSL for ITV SignPost and teaches BSL classes. The managing director of ITV SignPost says, “Alex is a shining example of how profoundly deaf people can make a massive impact on their community, their peers and their country." Read about Alex Duguid in The Shields Gazette here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

TV captioning exceptions

If a TV station wants a waiver to the FCC's new closed captioning requirements, they can file an appeal online. The window for filing such a request starts tomorrow. The rule also applies to cable operators and program producers. In February, the Commission ordered video program creators and distributors to make an effort to improve the quality of closed captioning but the FCC is willing to hear from those who say doing so is a financial burden. While the FCC didn't set any specific standards, the FCC says that any organization asking for exceptions will be judged on the basis of the nature and cost of closed captions for that particular programming, the type of operation, the impact on the operation of the provider and the providers financial resources.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Science Gave My Son the Gift of Sound

A mother's deicision about what to do about her son's deafness is told in the book I Can Hear You Whisper: An Intimate Journey through the Science of Sound and Language. TIME Magazine printed an excerpt here.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

ADA Lawsuits Hit Small Businesses in Cali

A cottage industry has grow up in California around ADA law, NPR reports. Some people are making a living by filing hundreds complaints each year, many against minority owned small businesses, according to the radio network. Hear or read the story here.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Regrowing auditory nerves

Australian researchers say they've figured out a way for Gene therapy to make cochlear implants work better. Sending a series of short electric bursts to cells could cause auditory nerve endings to regenerate. If they are right, implant users to get more "pitch" out of their devices. The gene therapy technique called "electroporation." The team says it successfully tested its technique on deaf guinea pigs. Human trails will have to wait until they figure out how to make the effect last longer than just a few months. Read the details of the study in the latest edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine here.

Know Your Rights When Dealing with Police

The ACLU is releasing a video today featuring Marlee Matlin. The Academy Award winner talks about the problems that deaf people have with the police because of communication barriers. It's part o public education effort launched by the American Civil Liberties Union aimed at ensuring people who are deaf know their rights when interacting with law enforcement. She says, "Getting stopped by the police, even at a routine traffic stop, can be a scary experience. For those of us who are deaf or hard of hearing, it can be even scarier. When officers don’t realize we can’t hear them, it can lead to confusion or worse. As the wife of a law enforcement officer, as well as a deaf person, I know that police culture and deaf culture can be very different, and this video is here to bridge the gap." Watch the video below.

Review of Tribes in Berkeley

The stage production of Tribes is being produced at the new Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, California through May 18. One reviewer says, "At times, the verbiage gets a bit thick, and the production seems about to stall in white noise. But “Tribes” comes together in the second act." Read more here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

USC Lectures on cochlear implants

Three people were honored recently for the their work with cochlear implants by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. Graeme Clark, Ingeborg Hochmair and Blake Wilson spoke at the University of Southern California as part of the Lasker Lectures. Read more here.

Sean Forbes Reflects on Influences

Deaf hip hop performer Sean Forbes spoke at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York yesterday as part of the Cornell University Deaf Awareness Project. The school's student newspaper, The Cornell Daily Sun, interviewed Forbes and asked him about his musical beginnings and commitment to the deaf community. Read the interview here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

School turns green space into farmland

TThe Kentucky School for the Deaf has broken ground on a 23 acres garden and research center on its campus. The Advocate Messenger says students last worked the land in the 1970s. Plans are to use the corn, potatoes and strawberries in the school's cafeteria and local food banks. Read the full story here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Lawsuit against Gally tossed out

Angela McCaskill
image from Gallaudet University
A million dollar lawsuit against Gallaudet University has been dismissed by a federal judge. We first told you about Angela McCaskill filing the lawsuit last fall in a post here. The University’s chief diversity officer said the school violated an anti-discrimination law when she was placed on paid leave for signing a petition about Maryland’s gay-marriage law. McCaskill was demoted when she was allowed to return to work. Her lawsuit asked for $2.5 million. U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg wrote:
“While a citizen has an unfettered right to petition her government, such a constitutional claim aimed at Gallaudet cannot succeed here, as the university and its employees are private parties not subject to the First Amendment’s strictures."
You can read the decision here.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Deaf man sues city over injury

Jesus A. Trevino is suing the city of Bakersfield, California because he says a police officer injured him when Trevino didn't hear the officer's commands. The Bakersfield Californian reports that Trevino, who is deaf, was trying to get into his own house after forgetting his keys. Read the full story here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Son’s Deafness Prompts a Scientific Journey

Lydia Denworth's new book I Can Hear You Whisper: An Intimate Journey Through the Science of Sound and Language "explores both what happened to her own child and the relationship between the brain and sound and language." Read more about it in the New York Times here.

ASL rap battle

It was a sign language rap battle on Jimmy Kimmel Live last week. ASL terps Amber Galloway, Holly Maniatty, and deaf entertainer Jo Rose Benfield matched skills to a Wiz Khalifa song. The video already has more than 900k views. You can see the video below (no captions).

Monday, April 14, 2014

Board votes to close school

The Austine School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will close in June. The Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Board of Directors voted 8-1 to shut down the Brattleboro, Vermont school. The vote also closes the Williams Center which provides emotional support for deaf children. The decision is expected to cause 50 people to lose their jobs. You can read more about the vote in the Bennington Banner here.

A deaf wedding in 1940

This video is a British news reel, which was shown in movie theaters during 1940 (no captions).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Baseball team pretends player is deaf

A group of professional baseball players pretended one of their teammates was deaf for an entire month--in order to play a prank on a player. The Chihuahuas is a minor league team of the San Diego Padres out of El Paso, Texas that had outfielder Jeff Francoeur believing that pitcher Jorge Reyes was deaf. Not only were the players on the team part of the prank, so was the coaching and training staffs. They even got Francoeur to talk about it on camera. You can see it below--though the video creator ironically choice not to include captioning.

Health agency's flaws

A doctor who has worked with Starkey Hearing foundation blames the World Health Organization for making the situation worse for people in Africa. Dr. Robert Dean has a practice in Palm Harbor, Florida and has led to several humanitarian travel missions, writes this in the Tampa Bay Times:
I've been humbled and honored to help to mitigate hearing loss through the Starkey Hearing Foundation. But as we observe World Health Day, we need to ask why the World Health Organization isn't doing more to shrink the demand for missions like the ones that keep Starkey volunteers so busy.
Read the opinion piece here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Megadeth flies born-deaf woman to Vegas for her first rock concert

The band Megadeth is flying Sarah Churman and her husband to Las Vegas for a concert. A couple of years ago, we shared with you a video of Churman getting her cochlear implants turned on. The video went viral and more than 20 million people saw her reaction (the video is below). Now, she's getting her first rock concert and you read the full story at the Las Vegas Review-Journal here.

Feeling the music at concerts

An Indianapolis has installed something to help deaf patrons better enjoy the event. WISH-TV has a video report below. No captioning but you can read the story here. | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Friday, April 11, 2014

Deaf Actress Dies at 70

The woman honored for her role in the Broadway version of Children of a Lesser God died yesterday. Phyllis Frelich won the 1980 Tony award for Best Actress in a Play for her work as Sarah Norman--a part that playright Mark Medoff wrote especially for Frelich. Marlee Matlin got an Oscar for playing the same part in the film version of Children of a Lesser God. The Hollywood Reporter says Frelich died at the age of 70. Both her parents and siblings were deaf. she performed with the National Theater of the Deaf, the Broadway edition of Big River and signed the national anthem at the 1998 Super Bowl.

Deaf Woman tells Police she was assaulted

A Minnesota convicted sex offender is facing charges that he raped and beat a deaf woman in St. Paul. Police say a naked woman ran from the apartment of Michael Darnell Burns to a neighbor, saying Burns had assaulted her, according to WCCO-TV. Read the full story here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Professional musicians work with preschoolers

A Tennessee school held a concert today featuring preschoolers. WMC-TV reports in the video below on the Memphis Oral School's efforts (captioning available).

Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Drummer gets implants

Deaf musician Doug Lagasse lost his hearing to cystic fibrosis treatment. That was more than a decade ago. This week, he got some of that hearing back at the University of Colorado Hospital where he was given a cochlear implant. Watch a report about Doug Lagasse in the video report below from KUSA-TV in Denver.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Rush Limbaugh--second implant

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is getting another cochlear implant. More than a decade ago he got his first one. In preparation for the new implant, Limbaugh told his radio audience this week that he has to do something that "I have always wanted to do and have never done before. I was permitted to watch surgery. It was the most amazing thing. You know, I have a cochlear implant, and so I was curious to see it.” The audio clip (no captions) is recorded on the video post below.

Gallaudet Charter Day

Your diplomas from Gallaudet University carries the signature of the U.S. president. Gallaudet is celebrating the president who got the school started--Abraham Lincoln because 150 years have passed since his signature authorized the founding of the Washington, DC school. The Washington Post tells the story here.

Are deaf people being let down in UK hospitals?

The plight of deaf patients in UK hospitals is getting national attention thanks to the BBC and the weekly magazine program See Hear. Deaf people have been going on record about difficult experiences they've had in hospitals due to lack of sign language interpreters, reports the BBC. Read about three cases where this could have been avoided in an article here. Below you'll find a video taken just a few days ago of The House of Lords discussing a report that shows both minor and major health issues are going undiagnosed because of the problem.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Controversy for Deaf-Blind ensemble

(image of Nalaga’at from the performing group's website)
Nalaga’at is the only ensemble of actors who are both deaf and blind. The professional acting company from Israeli is touring the U.S. and has caused debate among theater critics. Find out what the fuss is about in the audio report below from WBUR radio in Boston (where the tour ends). Or read about it here.

Deaf school may not reopen next year

A Vermont school is struggling to survive. "The Austine School for the Deaf in Brattleboro has seen its on-campus enrollment shrink from about 140 in the early 1980s to about 20 now. Staff took a 6 percent pay cut this year' reports The Burlington Free Press. Read the full story here.

Providing the Deaf-Blind with new Technology

The FCC has a program designed to provide low-income deaf-blind individuals with communication devices the truing necessary to operate them. In the year and a half that the iCanConnect program has been around, it has helped some 2000 people. Read more about it in an Associated Press report here.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

High School Hockey Sensation

A Maryland high schooler is turning heads with his hockey play. Dominic Norris set a freshman record for the most goals for his school. WUSA-TV spoke with Norris about his play--and about being deaf.

Captioning options for broadcasters

Major video producers are scrambling to meet FCC-mandated rules requiring captions for all video content--and those rules apply whether the video is created for TV or the Internet. Broadcasters meeting in Las Vegas this week for the National Association of Broadcasters convention are looking over new equipment that manufacturers say will make the process easier and more accurate.

One of the difficult areas for broadcasters to cover is news programming. The Commission is requiring broadcasters adopt technology that turns news teleprompter scripts into captions that viewers can read. Some news is uncaptioned because the material is typically ad-libbed--such as sports, weather and breaking news. Here are some of the companies offering equipment designed to deal with those issues and meet FCC requirements, which unofficially include a 90 percent accuracy mark:

Comprompter has come up with a voice-activated Caption Central platform that is, according to the company, about 95 percent accurate for a captioned-trained person. Comprompter's automated platform has an ad-lib setting that switches from the teleprompter script to a studio mic when reporters go "off script."There's more info in a PDF here.

Telestream offers MacCaption and CaptionMaker software focuses on compliance with the FCC requirements, with tools for dealing with such issues as caption placement. There's more information here.

Grass Valley has software (Softel Swift Create V8) that creates and manages captions. The company touts the software's ability to adapt to smartphones. There's a profanity tool designed to deal with questionable language. Read more about it here.

Swift TX is ready to deal with multiple languages and captioning in real time. Read about it here.

i-Yuno Media Group Americas has software called CaptionCast that is cloud based and has had success in Asia. Captioners are able to simply type what they hear. More here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"How I heard for the first time … and became an internet sensation"

If you saw a video recently of a woman from England who cried when she had her cochlear implants turned on, you may already know Jo Milne. She writes in the Guardian, "Last week I hit the headlines when a video of me hearing for the first time after having cochlear implants fitted went viral. If you have no hearing it is difficult to imagine what it will be like to hear for the first time, and I was completely overwhelmed by the experience. I was born profoundly deaf, although this wasn't immediately obvious to doctors.." Read more of her story, in her own words, here.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Film fest this month in Maine

The 12th annual Maine Deaf Film Festival is taking place on April 25 and 26. Find out more here. It takes place at the University of Southern Maine’s campus in Portland and sponsored by the school's American Sign Language Club. Find out more here.